WSU's Leach: Cops, media to blame for player legal issues

Washington State linebacker Logan Tago played in the Cougars’ first two football games this season, despite the fact he’s under investigation for two felonies — an assault and a robbery — in June.

The alleged incident involving Tago preceded a fraternity fight that resulted in the arrests of unnamed and unquantified Washington State players. And in the preseason, all-Pac-12 safety Shalom Luani was arrested in connection with a fight outside a Pullman Domino’s Pizza outlet. No charges have been filed in the latter two incidents, and there have been questions about whether Luani was provoked in the fight linked to him.

On Tuesday, Washington State coach Mike Leach took the fight to those who have spread information about the arrests — the media and the police.

Leach’s full statement, as transcribed by the Spokesman-Review of Spokane:

No one has been found guilty. Some have not been arrested. None are charged. Comments to the media have distorted the facts and already condemned football players in the court of public opinion.

Many of the statements are incomplete or totally false. I'm going to do what I should have done in the first place, which is presume them innocent until proven guilty. Quick review without going into too much — and this is far short of maligned statements that have been in the newspaper:

First instance. Brawl at a party, the whole room is involved. Room erupts in a brawl. Everybody's hitting everybody. The only guys accused of doing anything are football players. The only guys accused of anything are football players. Where's everybody else? What about the other 100 people in the room? What was their role?

Second incident. A football player is jumped and his shirt is ripped off. Jumped by five to six people. His shirt is ripped off, as he's leaving a place. The only guy arrested is the football player. Only guy arrested? Unless he somehow single-handedly started a fight with six people.

Third incident. I don’t know what happened. I don't know any of the details. It happened four months ago. Why didn't this surface four months ago?

Unless we are supposed to believe that these football players fought themselves, then there are numerous other guilty parties. That is clearly the case. If any of these allegations are true, I have not read anyone else's name in the newspaper. "Unidentified males." Nor any elaboration on their role in these events. Clearly, if these things happened, their role was extensive.

If the other guilty parties are not accused or charged, their needs to be an extensive investigation as to why. How in the world can only football parties be guilty in events depicted like this? It is irresponsible to this town, this community and everybody to have some kind of a double standard where we only focus on one demographic, one group of people and then drag their name through the newspaper with a bunch of irresponsible comments.

We can't allow the double standard. Because of all these inconsistencies, all I'm left with is to presume them innocent until proven guilty, which is what I should have done in the first place. With that said, if they have charges, fine. We're going to let the legal system take its course. But the system has to be checked if with the number of people involved in these incidents the only ones accused are football players. If that's the case, then something is seriously wrong, which goes far deeper than whatever has even been alleged. And whatever has even been alleged is only fractionally accurate.

Copyright 2016 KING


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